The Saints are taking a long hard look at some of the running backs in this years crop of potential NFL super stars.
Some are pleased with the teams sudden interest in acquiring a new offensive weapon, while others are adamantly against the move citing needs on the defensive side of the ball.
The Saints re-signed Pierre Thomas this offseason amidst rumors he had already player his last down with team. Reggie Bush is also expected to return once a new contract is put in place.
Rookie Chris Ivory became the teams leading rusher last season while filling in for Thomas and Bush during their lengthy time away from the field with injury.
He showed tremendous promise last season and the Saints have high hopes for him in the future, as do fans, but if the trio of Thomas, Bush and Ivory is such a good one then why all the meetings with running backs?
Injuries are always a concern with NFL running backs, who play the toughest and roughest position in the league. Last year the Saints were decimated with injury at the position and they nearly couldn’t find enough healthy ones to fill the roster.
In their playoff game against the Seahawks the Saints entered the game down both Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory who where placed on injured reserve, entering the contest with Bush and Julius Jones as the primary rushers.
Bush rushed for five times for twelve yards before sitting out with injury, leaving Jones to pick up the slack. He would rush fifteen times for 59 yards until he injured himself and was able to continue.
DeShawn Wynn took over from there with absolutely zero impact in the game. Once again the adage “You can’t have too many healthy running backs” on the roster was never more prominently displayed.
The Saints have already met with the draft’s top running back Mark Ingram, Syracuse running back Delone Carter, Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter and next in line is Hawaii running back Alex Green.
Green is scheduled to meet with the Saints later this week and is projected now as a “middle round” pick in the upcoming draft. The Saints have one pick in the second round and two in the third round, but none in rounds four through six.
Last season at Hawaii Green averaged 8.2 yards per carry, which was tops in the nation, while rushing for 1,199 yards and seventeen touchdowns.
Scouts like the production at the college level and he showed excellent ability in the passing drills run at his pro day, showed superb explosiveness as well as cutting ability. His forty time was clocked between 4.45 and 4.55.
While you cannot put too much stock in who a team intends to draft by their pre-draft visits, the slew of running back prospects the Saints have marched through their Metairie facility, makes it hard to ignore the probability they select a running back between rounds one and three.
New Orleans has not drafted a running back since 2006 when they took Reggie Bush with the second overall pick. Instead they like to find them in the undrafted pool of players, look no farther than Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory as examples.